Christ Church Moscow Deacon and members arrested

That’s not really an excuse. It’s a perverse inversion of the rule of law. Laws should be applied equally. Not doing so based on threats of violence from lawbreakers effectively cedes power to lawbreakers. Forget about punishing the evil and rewarding the good at that point. That’s asking for the whole civil order to unravel into anarchy.


True, but not so cut and dried as you want it to be. Not entirely situational but certainly wisdom must be used to apply the law.

Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
Or you will also be like him.
Answer a fool as his folly deserves,
That he not be wise in his own eyes (Prov. 26:4-5).

Pastor Dionne,

I may not have been clear enough.

I’m certainly not trying to draw a moral equivalence between abortion and mask mandates/social distancing requirements. I think abortion is a grave evil and I think most restrictions around COVID are lawful (at least the ones in my part of the country), even though I think many are overbearing or imprudent. I’m all for Christians using lawful means at their disposal to try to change the COVID restriction if they so desire, and in some cases (like extended lockdowns) I think civil disobedience may be justified - but it is nothing like abortion.

My point was that the nature of the government action in each case makes protest and civil disobedience look different. In the case of COVID restrictions the authorities are telling you that you must do X. To protest and break the law requires only that you don’t do X. In the case of abortions the authorities are allowing (or even encouraging) others to do X. How do you protest that in a way that constitutes civil disobedience, it isn’t as straightforward. So I agree that both are actions (or inactions) of the government that require judgement. I just don’t think it is so easy to say “if you are willing to be disobedient for the sake of COVID restrictions you should first be disobedient for the sake of abortion allowance.”

To the rest of your reply, I say amen. A lot of the complaining strikes me as being complaining that our autonomy is being impinged on by a vision of the good that is held at the community level.

Yes and no. Equitably is better than equally. With wisdom is better than equally.

No disagreement that it’s a terrible idea to let rioters do what they want. And unjust.

When the civil magistrate is inequitable in a way that is problematic, we should challenge them on it.

But the point stands. Every authority needs to decide when to enforce their authority, and “equally” isn’t the highest goal there.

What really pisses me off, if I may be quite frank, is that our hapless civil magistrates treat mask mandates as inviolable laws of God, written in stone. They will always and everywhere be enforced on relatively harmless people.

Meanwhile, apparently, basic public safety is negotiable. You can block roads, smash windows and light fires with impunity. People are afraid to go out at night. Having forgotten about enforcing the big laws, they instead enforce an endless procession of silly little laws instead. It’s both evil and comical at the same time.

Here’s an idea, guys. Maybe the doofuses singing Psalms at city hall in an attempt to get clicks and shares aren’t your problem.

And honestly Andrew and Joseph, all we want from the Warhorn men is not for you to stop your arguments. We want some sign that you see and understand our frustrations. Men read Doug Wilson for the same reason they vote for Trump. For the last six months you men have behaved like Jeb Bush.


This is from a letter that I wrote to our church exactly a month ago:

At this point however, I suspect that it is not rules affecting the church directly that are the most pressing on many of our minds. For example, I found out yesterday that spectators or participants in sports (from youth to school to pro) are required to “stay home” if they have Covid-19 symptoms. Included in the symptoms list are “headache, congestion, and muscle aches.” Therefore, if you watch your kids play sports, leaving home with a headache becomes a misdemeanor punishable by fine and/or jail time.

To say that there is “something wrong here” is quite obvious.

There are a lot of other “so bad it’s (not) funny” things related to this. For example, if your kid gets sore from exercising for sports, he could do jail time for leaving the house as this is written.

And they are seriously harmful to schools (just for example), the way a simple mask mandate is not.

I would be happy to be part of a protest against these rules. I tried to raise interest in a legal challenge to it. But if you want me to pretend like I’m a victim of religious persecution while doing so, you can count me out. All across the state, every single person is facing the same problems.

But my job as a pastor is to fight for people’s souls. And the danger that I keep seeing to people’s souls under my care and in my sphere of influence is hatred of authority.

Can you imagine the Apostle Paul getting worked up and talking like these men have been? The only time he got somewhat close to talking like that, he apologized!

But yeah, the zealots of that day were much more the fighting type. Much more satisfying to follow them.


We get you and have talked about the frustrations. Take a look at Evangel Presbytery’s statement. It’s balanced.

I guess I’d say others have been pounding one single drum…but people have an ear for it.

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Have you read Calvin’s commentary on that account of Paul?

Yes. Are you saying I’m wrong about Paul?

For those here who are decrying what the “Moscow men” are doing, I am curious, what counsel would you give to Joe Moscow parishioner? Should they be leaving their church, or should they be submitting to their elders’ leadership and be out singing? Or should they just be staying at home, and not disturbing the good order of the church?

Correct me if I am wrong, but the “Warhorn men” have contended that church members are in the wrong if they absent themselves from corporate worship on account of their elders requiring masks. I am wondering, do we believe the same measure applies when your elders instruct you to come protest the civil government? If not, why not?


It’s my view and I think it was Calvin’s that the Apostle Paul was using sarcasm for the purpose of rebuke and was not apologizing.

I don’t remember that. Could be. But even if you take that view, I repeat my question.

They are certainly not requiring people to come. It’s a choice. I would probably go if I was a parishioner. Because I want to follow my leaders. Certainly wouldn’t leave, nor am I recommending that.

I’m not decrying what they’re doing. I’m disappointed that they are attempting to frame this as religious persecution. And one of the reasons is because I’d like to actually be able to use that defense when actual religious persecution comes.


Wilson: “How you are handling the mask peer pressure right now is a pretty good indication of how you would have handled a lynch mob or a black man asked to give up his seat on a bus in 1950.”

Also Wilson: “I put on a mask earlier this week because I needed a haircut and couldn’t get a haircut without one.”


Also Wilson* “I went to the whites only barber shop last week because I needed a haircut and that’s the only place I could get one.”

*Not an actual quote.

I asked Sumter if there have been other similarly sized gatherings without arrests and I have not yet heard back. I also asked if this was a setup for a deliberate legal challenge to the law. I have also not heard back.

He is probably busy, and he doesn’t owe me, Joe Shmoe, an answer. I’m sure there are a lot of crazies coming at him right now and my voice probably blends in with them, when I am actually quite sympathetic to their view that mask mandates are bad.

But calling this “religious persecution” without some other context (documentation of lack of arrests for other gatherings) is deceitful. And their show - which I listened to before they started adding all the side-shows - is called Crosspolitic. It obviously centers on the intersection of Christianity and civil governance. If you are going to be deceitful on that issue, why would anyone listen to the show? You’ve lost credibility.

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“"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:10.

The commentaries from Calvin and Matthew Henry are interesting here as well. They acknowledge that you can be blessed and persecuted for a righteous or good cause. It doesn’t have to just be because of the gospel message.
For example in a book published by Warhorn on persecution, there are many accounts of the early church being persecuted for doing things like burning down temples to idols and practicing civil disobedience on issues not necessarily directly related to the gospel preaching.
I would want to be careful that criticisms against Moscow cannot be also dishonoring of those who came before. Think of St Boniface who chopped down the pagan tree. The argument could be made that he wasn’t persecuted for worshipping Christ but punished for destruction of property.

The truth is that every part of this world is Christ’s and answerable to his law. It is the mission of the church to proclaim that kingship to every area of life. When we do so we will be in danger of being persecuted. They aren’t going to persecute you for staying in the four walls of your church building or being on zoom.

Here is a good question to ask yourself. When was the last time you led your church into someplace where they have the possibility of being persecuted?


Boniface is your comparison? Ok. Then presumably you think masks are the main symbol of idolatry today in our culture. That fits with Moscow’s claims.

I completely disagree, obviously.

But yeah, if the mask is the central idol of the day, burn it. Condemn it. Can you imagine Boniface saying people were free to use magic oak tree charms during church services if they wanted to?

If he did would you have anything to say about that?


I wasn’t claiming the masks are equivalent to the oak tree. I was referring to a person being persecuted for not something passively but that he actively went and did. Masks are stupid things in and of themselves to fight against. They are the application from a bigger issue and I think it’s that bigger issue that Moscow is aimed at


I don’t think anybody has argued that persecution only comes if you are passive. Why are you arguing against that?

What is the bigger thing that you agree with Moscow on that they are actually aiming at?

Dear Andrew,

Yes, the presbytery’s statement is quite balanced. Thank you for referencing it.

Feelings are often deceptive. I was being frank and honest, but that doesn’t mean my perceptions are correct. We love you men.

I would be lying if I denied that it’s been a trying few months, but God is sanctifying us through this conflict, and I pray we will enjoy greater unity once we reach the other side of it.